This Article is From May 01, 2015

A Nightclub Owner, a Tourist, and a Call Centre Employee Hold Fort at a Government Hospital in Earthquake-Hit Nepal

This motley group of volunteers manning the front desk of Bir Hospital in Kathmandu after the massive earthquake.

Kathmandu: A nightclub owner, a tourist, and a call centre employee are holding fort at a government hospital in Kathmandu, for the last five days after a powerful earthquake caused large scale devastation across Nepal, killing over 5000 people.

28-year-old Sudan Gurung, conspicuous by his gold streaked hair, has been manning the help desk at the entrance of Bir Hospital's Trauma Centre. He walked in to help out on the day of the quake and has not walked out since.

Gurung is a disco-jockey and owns a nightclub in Thamel, a popular tourist area in Kathmandu. "Friday was a good night at the club so I had cash which has all gone in organising relief at the hospital" he told NDTV, smiling sheepishly.

His team of volunteers has swelled to over 300 in three days - some who walked in, others who responded on social media. His team includes 24-year-old Johhny Moore, an Irish tourist who works in Kolkata and Mandeep Dongal, a tele marketer at a call centre.

While Moore has been helping out in various roles, Dongal has been assigned to take care of critical patients or those who come alone. "My family and friends are safe so I have come to do some service. We have to take care of all the needs of the patients, yesterday I cleaned shit and today urine but that's what is needed," says Dongal.

Their biggest success has been streamlining the functioning of the hospital. At the desk there is a donation box, blood donors list, a list of morning and night teams, and separate registers of who is doing what on each floor of the hospital.

Gurung says most people approach them for monetary help and to locate missing people. Over 400 such requests have come to them in the last four days.

Dr Sandes of the Bir Hospital admits, "We were not prepared to deal with a disaster of this scale. This volunteer group has helped them put together a system."

But like many quake-affected citizens, Gurung too is unhappy with the Nepalese government. He says angrily, "It is such a shame that all foreign aid, including medical, coming in to Nepal is not reaching the people. It is stuck as the government wants to tax it."